Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya, a scholar, statesman, educationist and the most celebrated engineer in India, was born 158 years ago today in the village of Muddenahalli in the Kingdom of Mysore (now in Karnataka).
This day, every year since 1968, is celebrated as the Engineers Day in India, to recognise the contribution of engineer’s in the development of the nation. Visvesvaraya was responsible for the construction of Krishna Raja Sagara Dam in Mysore. He was the chief engineer in the project. He was also the chief designer of the flood protection system of Hyderabad.
He also designed and patented the automatic weir floodgates, which were first installed at the Khadakwasla reservoir in Pune in 1903. He is believed to have transformed Mysore into the ‘model state’ of the India.
His achievements, especially for the flood protection system in Hyderabad, were recognised by the Indian government, and he was awarded a Bharat Ratna in 1955. He was also awarded the British Knighthood by Kind George V.
Visvesvaraya started studying at the Wesleyan Mission High School in 1875. Later he joined the Central College from where he graduated with distinction. He then moved to Pune to join the College of Science to study engineering, where he passed his engineering examination in 1883, standing first. He specialised in Civil Engineering.
Visvesvaraya took up a job with the Public Works Department (PWD) of Bombay and was later invited to join the Indian Irrigation Commission.
As part of his usual work in the Public Works Department he was engaged in road construction, maintenance of public buildings and laying out plans for city developments, in many important towns.